The Finders Keepers Market

The Finders Keepers Market

All images by Mark Lobo

Recently we were lucky enough to get a few moments from the lovely Sarah of the Finders Keepers market right here in Australia, to gain her thoughts about the importance of supporting your local design talent. Here is what she had to say…

What first inspired you to create the finders keepers market? 
As young designers ourselves and having experienced many weekly markets across Sydney that we started to become less than impressed with, we were looking for more opportunities in Sydney at the time. As Brooke had just started her jewellery label she had little start up and was feeling frustrated by the whole experience. After a discsussion one Summer evening over a few wines we decided why don’t we create what we have been looking for. The focus was to make the market an event, for it to celebrate, encourage and foster young emerging talent and create a beautiful environment with all our other favourite things – music, food, wine, coffee over a few special days.
We wanted to make it special and unique every time so people wouldn’t get bored with the same things over and over again so we always focus on bringing new talent each time and adding new features that encourage people to be creative and support handmade and their local community.

Why do you think running a market like this is important to our young artists and designers?
It is important for a few very good reasons!
– It gives a platform for emerging designers and artists to showcase their work, and for them to learn, experience and grow from being in an environment that will help them get established.
– It pushes people to invest in quality work with handmade and ethical products, and invest in Australian design instead of mass produced cheap product that saturates our industry. We need to keep educating young designers in the importance of this.– It is important because we really push innovative work of high standards. If there is no benchmark people aren’t going to be challenged to create and we need that in Australia.

Do you have rules of what can be sold at the market? What makes your market different to others out there in terms of what is on offer?
Yes everything sold at the markets has to designed and preferably made by you. If it’s not made by the designer themselves, we want to know where and how it is made specifically. We prefer to always encourage locally made product. If it’s made overseas we question the intention of the designer and the environment that it is produced in.
There is a difference between something that is designed and made from scratch, to what is just made up of existing elements. We see this alot, designers buy already made parts and put them together – claiming they have designed the product whereas we don’t feel this is original at all, and creating is different to designing. Craft is very popular so it’s now easy for people to follow eachother and make the same things, while this is wonderful that people are creating their own things – it’s not entirely original and we are seeing the copycat patterns repeating themselves across the community. I think this is very important for young designers to know the difference and why it’s important to encourage authentic design.

What are your thoughts on the importance of supporting locally made goods instead of imported goods? In your opinion, are there any big economic or environmental benefits to supporting localised trading?

We always give first prefernce to handmade and local made goods, this is the first area we push. There are a few designers that we allow to be apart that produce overseas, some of these are working with ethical clothing companies and this is extremely important for us. We have not approved designers who we feel breach these terms, and always have to understand the background of the product first.

What challenges have you had in setting up the market? Has there been any hardships in educating market applicants/market go-ers about the product quality / price points / product origins that need to be upheld to keep the reputation of the market in-line with your original vision?
We did struggle at first with the standard, and worked hard to raise our reputation. When we started as Hope Street Markets in 2007 we used to scout designers that we felt matched our criteria. We felt that it has definitely progressed from now, and we are happy to hear that this reputation has been acknowledged by alot of people we never thought possible. 
We really pushed designers to work hard on unique displays, we wanted our markets to look beautiful and be inspiring everytime and each event goes from strength to strength so it’s rewarding to know that when you drive your vision for something that doesn’t exist it can happen when others believe in you.
We always try and help the designers in as many ways possible and try and offer our advice and give lots of guidance to new stallholders too. It is something we love doing, and is very rewarding knowing hardwork pays off.

What are your hopes for the market in the future? 
When we started markets, there was only around 3 design markets across the country. Now there is probably around 50, whilst this is phenomenal to see the change in Australias handmade, sometimes it can be discouraging that we worked so hard to create a concept that other people can now easily duplicate. Our vision is to keep growing and being the best in the field and being able to continue to support and grow the community we currently have.
We always want to keep pushing original concepts, working more on Art exhibitions, workshops and new features apart of our events and on the side. We have been working on some new concepts that we hope to roll out in the near future. 
This year we are going to the famous Renegade Craft Fairs in the USA. Surprisingly we had no idea how similar Renegade is to Finders Keepers, we only discovered them last year! We are very excited to be able to learn a thing or two about the global market, and bring back some innovative inspiration, ideas and possible a collaboration or two – who knows!

Katie Gannon

After running an ethical fashion label for 5 years, I started this blog in 2007 after learning first hand about the importance of sustainability in fashion design. I am a passionate environmentalist and wish to promote individuals and organisations around the world working on innovative design. I have a BA in Communications / Media as well as a Cert IV in Clothing Production, and run my own graphic design company at

1 Comment
  • Amanda
    Posted at 03:32h, 10 March Reply

    I LOVE the new look! And I can’t tell you enough how much I loved the Mother Maria store at Palmwoods. It’s just gorgeous. You are so talented. xx

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